Our accommodation provides the necessary step between leaving home and community living
Cambian Whinfell School's curriculum is designed to enable our young people to build self-esteem and achieve their full potential.
The school day is structured and active, including many opportunities for physical activity and therapeutic input. All of our classes are small; no more than three students and a one to one staff ratio where appropriate. Students have individualised timetables which are informed by their education, health and care plan (EHCP) and by an understanding of their own individual learning style. Where necessary staff are skilled in using a wide range of visual supports and prompts. Autism specific awareness is central to the delivery of teaching and learning and all students have Individual Development Plans (IDPs) which are regularly reviewed.
Our students all access the national curriculum and most sit at least 8 GCSEs, some accessing the highest grades. We also offer a wide range of accredited courses for example through WJEC Entry Pathways in Independent Living and Preparing for Working Life and Post-16 students may remain within the school to continue their studies and we can currently offer A levels in English, Media Studies, Maths, Geography, Chemistry, and Art.
The staff are brilliant. Before any learning really began, teachers got to know me as a person, which is important as it allowed me to feel comfortable. I also like the fact everything is on a first-name basis, which again allowed me to relax and be more open about things. Care-staff were pretty much the same. I felt like I was being listened to and people actually cared about what I was saying which, apart from my parents and close family, was something I’d never experienced.
Teachers were patient with me. They gave me assessments to help them understand how I work, the rate of which I work and what I already knew in each respective subject. This patience has continued throughout my time here. Because of the small class size and approachability of the teachers, it’s easy to ask any questions without worrying about getting judged or feeling stupid.
- Student (Read Jack's story in his own words here.)
We also have excellent links with a local further education College where students can be supported to not only access a wider range of opportunities but also become used to working alongside peers in a busier, more mainstream environment. This can be an important milestone towards independence and bolsters self-esteem. Some students will attend on a part or full-time basis depending on their choice of subjects or even as an evening course. For some of our young people to avoid ‘falling off the edge’ at 16 and to continue to be academically challenged, the college link is really important.
Work experience is crucial in developing awareness of the world outside the ‘Whinfell Bubble’ and of building resilience. We have a robust programme which is individually tailored and we work closely with the local careers service to prepare our young people for life beyond school.
Clinical & Therapeutic Support
At Whinfell School we benefit from having a closely integrated multi-disciplinary team that includes:
• Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
• Psychology (education and clinical where needed)
• Speech and Language Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
The team informs the waking curriculum and the environment around each young person. We have a solution-focussed approach and concentrate on developing emotional self-regulation and resilience. We focus on the development of personal, social, communication and living skills and deliver through an informed Individual Development Plan for each young person.